18 February 2007

Book: Amazigh Arts in Morocco

Amazigh Arts in Morocco
Women Shaping Berber Identity
By Cynthia Becker

:><: from intro...
When I first arrived in Morocco in 1993 with the intention of learning about Berber art, I soon discovered that women rather than men were the artists in Berber societies. Berber women wove brightly colored carpets. They decorated their faces with
tattoos, dyed their hands and feet with henna, and painted their faces with saffron. They also embroidered brightly colored motifs on their indigo head coverings and wore elaborate silver and amber jewelry. Women both created the artistic symbols of Berber identity and wore them on their bodies, making the decorated female body a public symbol of Berber identity.

These connections and intersections of art, gender, and identity are the subject of this book. This study considers women and their participation in the process of identity construction by examining the centrality of the textiles, jewelry, and other art forms created by women to the social relations and ethnic identity of the Berbers of Morocco, the indigenous peoples of North Africa. Unlike Arab groups in North Africa, in Berber societies women rather than men are the primary producers of art, and women's arts identify the group as Berber. This examination, in addition to revealing a rich body of art, is meant to illuminate the complexity of women's roles in the Islamic societies of Africa and to demonstrate the role of women's agency in negotiating complex social and religious issues. Its central argument is that women's control over the visual symbols of Berber ethnic identity grants them power and prestige yet also restricts them to specific roles in that society...>>>.read more...

:><: Cynthia Becker is an assistant professor in the Department of Art History at St. Thomas, where she teaches courses in the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora and women's art from a cross-cultural perspective. She holds a B.A. from the University of New Orleans and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research explores the relationship between art, gender and ethnicity in North Africa. She is currently focusing on the influence of the trans-Saharan slave trade on artistic culture in Morocco. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant and grants from the American Institute of Maghreb Studies.


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MoRocco said...

This book may be very usefull on my next visit to morocco!!

Marie-Aude said...

Interesting book, thanks for pointing it.

wonderful110 said...

thanks for your share!
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